After having worked for a major iconic Australian airline for 16 years, Grace specialises in international airfares, along with creating round-the-world itineraries, including tours, rail and cruises for FIT and group travel.
Traveltalk sat down with Grace to discuss some of the issues facing travel agents and travellers today. Find out what she has to say here:
Why are travel consultants still relevant?
My clients wish to speak to a real person who has gained their stripes from travelling extensively and selling travel products over a number of years – one who can draw from their own trials and tribulations to give first-hand advice.
Travel agents keep themselves informed of the latest world events and travel advisories such as notifications from DFAT, any visa requirements of a destination and their customs, ensuring travel insurance has been offered along with something so basic as knowing if the client’s hotel of choice is undergoing renovations. How many websites do you have to visit to get that information?
We also utilise renowned and licensed wholesalers/suppliers – this is paramount in my business and I cannot stress this enough. Over the years I have built a rapport with my sales representatives who support me should there be an issue and I can pass on these benefits to my passengers.
What do you love about your job?
I love the fact I can pack up my computer and bags and still work at the same time as I’m travelling. Writing in my journals along the way helps me remember tips to pass onto my clients. Currently I’m working on polishing up some past chronicles for Grace Club Travel as a blog site.
Working as a travel consultant gives me the freedom to explore so many opportunities. For instance, I recently won a place in the RailPlus Expert Program and with my 15-day rail pass I’ll blog my journey in Europe early next year and see how far I can travel while visiting places easily accessible by train. I’ll be gladly writing about the hotels too as I have taken a more active review role with Trip Advisor in recent times and enjoy giving my point of view.
I’m also working with my local suppliers to plan a ‘Princess Grace Tour’ towards the later part of next year.
When do you wish you were an accountant instead?
I would only wish to be an accountant if I could figure out how much money I have outlaid on my own personal travel over the last 25 years.
What’s your best travel tip?
Find a travel agent who holds their Airfares & Ticketing I & II Certification and who has travelled extensively themselves. Why is this important? As I was an industry advisor to travel agents some years ago, I found there’s a big gap in having a consultant who understands online carriage and interline agreements between carriers whereby more mileage may be gained out of a complex international airfare(s) than just booking point-to-point fares, whilst adding in a myriad of sectors online. As an alternative, there are passes, sectors and side trips that may be added. Only a true expert will know this and can help take the mystery out of the equation to save their clients some big dollars.
*Always check whether a travel agency has a licence number and an ABN before parting with your hard-earned dollars. The Department of Fair Trading can advise you.
What is an underrated travel destination?
Colombia in South America is a true gem. While Colombia often evokes images of white sand and other more nose-worthy white substances, its heritage, culture, cuisine and historical significance will soon put it on the Aussie tourist map.
Bogata has been designated as a UNESCO City of Music and not surprisingly, it encompasses a heartbeat and soul intrepid travellers crave. And places such as Tayrona National Park and Cartegena are worthy of ticking off your bucket list.
English is not at all widely spoken here. So take some night lessons in the Latin Spanish.
Associate Diploma in Business (Travel & Tourism)
Advanced Certificate of Travel & Tourism
Airfares and Ticketing I & II Certificates
You can contact Grace on:
0411 89 3322
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